The objective of the 'Emerging Standards' project is to illuminate the complex processes involved in the emergence and development of Standard languages. Individual accounts of emerging Standard languages in, for instance, Early Modern Europe (cf. Deumert and Vandenbussche, eds., 2003) attach great importance to the role that language policies and authorities with power and prestige play in the standardisation processes (language history “from above”), while more covert factors such as the effects of national and international trade, work migration, and the book trade, have often been marginalised.
By using the example of the emergence of Standard English, this project explores the role of such factors in the origin and spread of a formal written Standard. To this end, a novel inter-disciplinary approach will be applied that combines historical linguistics, socioeconomic history and textual history. As this project explores an alternative history of language standardisation in England, the focus that was traditionally on the pre-eminent urban community – London – will be shifted to regional centres. The study focuses on the vernaculars of York (North), Bristol (Southwest), Coventry (West Midlands), and Norwich (East Anglia).
- Project leader: Anita Auer (University of Lausanne)
- Project members: Mo Gordon (PhD), Mike Olson (PhD), Tino Oudesluijs (PhD, University of Lausanne), Femke van Hilten (Research Assistant)
- Duration: 2013-2016
- Funding: NWO